Tired of cooking? Try these alternatives

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By Lingfeng Ge, Third Year, PhD Chemistry

After eight weeks in lockdown, thinking of what to cook can be challenging. Luckily, Lingfeng Ge has some fresh alternative ideas for low-effort meals you can find in Bristol.

I’m pretty sure you have cooked intensively since the beginning of the lockdown. But now is already the 8th week of quarantine, and I'm guessing many of you are getting tired of cooking and hoping to eat a hot meal without making much effort... If that’s the case, then you’re reading the right article! If you're still in Bristol, here are my top tips for alternatives to home-cooked food.

Microwave Meals

If you can be bothered to spend a few minutes preparing a hot meal, microwave meals are a fantastic choice. I’ve tried a variety of microwave meals from different supermarkets, and I find the tastiest ones are from M&S. M&S has a wide range of options, and almost every one of them is prepared in a great sauce. Another great thing is, if you’re using 900W microwave, it’ll take only 3 min for an M&S meal to be piping hot. Don’t worry too much about the price – each of these meals costs only £3.50-4.50. Here are the pictures of my favourite M&S microwave meals:

Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge
Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge
Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge

Ready-to-Eat Meat

Microwave meals tend to come in small portions. If you want a more filling meal, why not add a side? You can find a wide variety of ready-to-eat food in any supermarket, but here I’m only going to talk about meat, because I’m crazy about meat.

I would recommend Sainsbury’s Brunswick ham slices and Co-op’s honey roast ham chunks. Sainsbury’s Brunswick ham tastes exactly as what’s said on its package: succulent and smoky. Co-op’s honey roast ham chunks don’t have the looks but they do have a sweet taste.

Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge

Personally I don’t find any type of ready-to-eat chicken tasty, but the Taste Original chicken satay is pretty special. You can find it in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.

Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge

For seafood, I’d recommend the smoky paprika calamari from M&S is a must-try. M&S’s king prawns also taste nice. Salmon flakes from any supermarket taste very similar, but the ones from Sainsbury’s may be the cheapest – you can usually find the £3.00 deal.

Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge

If you want hot meat, you can find some of the best at Asda. Usually you can see chicken fillets and sausages there. But remember to get there before 5pm – as it tends to sell out before then!

Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge

Deliveries and Takeaways

While the vast majority of restaurants are closed during the lockdown, I have found that many  remain open for deliveries and/or takeaways. It’s very easy to find out which restaurants are delivering food – I'm sure you already know that you can find them on Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat. I’d like to suggest Bikkle Island if you didn’t have a chance to try it before the lockdown. Bikkle Island serves great Caribbean food, and the stew chicken is, in my opinion, its best dish. The Jerk chicken is less consistent; sometimes it tastes good but at other times tastes so-so – it all depends on your luck. But the stew chicken always tastes terrific! So lastly, let’s have a look at the restaurants in Bristol that allow you to buy takeaways

For Italian food, Bella Italia on Baldwin St has a ‘click & collect’ service. What’s even better, you can get 20% off by ordering ‘click & collect’ on their official website. Another Italian restaurant, La Grotta, is offering takeaways on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge

All three Taka Taka shops (Bridewell, Triangle & Broad Quay) in Bristol are open, and they give you true takeaways – you can enter their shop at any time during their opening hours and order at the counter. The Broad Quay shop offers meal deals during the afternoon. But don’t expect too much of the dessert in the meal deal – the portion size is small and the taste isn't great…

Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge

Fancy a coffee? Or even a crepe? You could visit the ‘Crepes & Coffee’ cabin at the Prince Street Bridge during daytime.

Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge

Craving some ice-cream? Patisserie La Reine on Union Street is open during the day.

Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge

My recommendations above summarise everything I have found so far – hope you enjoy!

Featured: Epigram/ Lingfeng Ge


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